Netflix is your favorite option to go to at any point of the day. And to make it even better, Netflix has an entire collection of the most groundbreaking documentaries. Here are some interesting music documentaries that you can watch!
Miss Sharon Jones
From the best ones you can stream, ‘Miss Sharon Jones’ is definitely a part of it. Released in 2006, and directed by Barbara Kopple, it revolves around the health and music of American singer Sharon Jones. In 2013, Jones was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The documentary flashes through her life and career through her illness. It moves on to elaborate on how the singer’s condition impacted the lives of all members of her band – the Dap-Kings. As Jones got weaker and her condition worsened, the career of the whole band changed along with it. The documentary truly is heartbreaking as the lens shows how the band gathers in a room and waits for Jones to remember the lyrics. The tragic film is that narrow line between optimism and hopelessness that everybody feels when someone close to them falls so sick.
Kopple’s documentary gets absolutely thrilling when it presents a collection of Jones’s performances. The concert footage whether old or new is the perfect way to memorize the power of Sharon Jones as a singer. Her music dazzled minds, and was surely the best of the best. Even though not many of us could experience her music while she lived, Kopple has gathered together a life-affirming documentary that everyone must see.
Another great music documentary to pick would be ‘Chasing Trane’ by John Scheinfeld. This film is vivid and exuberant tribute to the jazz legend, John Coltrane. Its a complete collection of recounts of his composition and talents as viewed by his family members, friends and band mates. Some of his famous fans like Kamasi Washington, Wynton Marsalis, John Densmore, Bill Clinton also talk about the evolution of Coltrane’s talent in the film. The documentary basically presents his entire life- from his childhood to drug abuse to marriages and his death from liver cancer when he was only 40.
The film is different in terms of its approach. It presents Coltrane’s life and everything you need to know about it with a survey style approach. It uses home movies, archival footage, and personal diaries. The way that documentary uses his music to flow in and out just at the right times makes it simply perfect. It includes Coltrane’s civil right opus ‘Alabama’ which stemmed form the words of Martin Luther King. His iconic works like ‘ A Love Supreme’ and ‘My Favorite Things’ are tied to the power of the singer’s relationships, legacy and faith. During the documentary, Coltrane is described as a thermostat who adapted and did not just measure.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’ is another great find on Netflix if you are looking for a music documentary. The film was directed by Liz Garbus and came out in 2015. It’s a direct reflection on how American singer Nina Simone’s talented abilities were directed by her mental health. And how the singer did not let it complicate her gifts. But the film gets more engaging as it contradicts this very thesis in the later parts. At some points, the documentary completely ignores some parts of Simone’s life to prove that her decline was inevitable. But at others, it uses Simone’s interviews, diaries, performances and even her abuse ex-husband to tell her story.
The film first portrays Nina Simone as an artist with unimaginable control over her talents and voice. And Simone is not scared to speak up for Black Power. It’s a story of an artist actually struggling with power, politics, fame, responsibility and her own self-worth. But Garbus has incorporated her performances to pay tribute to her skill and sensibilities. At instances, this documentary is nothing more than a typical film with the oldest story line of an artist struggling. It depicts how the qualities that made her even broke her. But the concert footage added into the film alone makes it extremely worthwhile and definitely something you should stream on Netflix.